DC Comics’ “Green Lantern” titles have undergone a resurgence. Not so much because of the departure of Geoff Johns, who spearheaded the Lantern universe for nine years, but because of the new writers and artists who have come aboard the books bringing an energy level befitting the creators of the Green Lantern mythos. The resurgence has only been two months now but the books have a new glow and are more welcoming to new readers than ever before.
At San Diego Comic-Con 2013 Green Lantern Recharged panel the exuberance of the men spearheading the adventures of the inter-galactic peace keeping force was palpable as they discussed the story so far and the upcoming “Lights Out” mini-event coming in October.
The panel was moderated by DC’s Senior Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne who was joined by “Green Lantern” writer Robert Venditti, “Red Lanterns” writer Charles Soule, “Green Lantern Corps” writer Van Jensen and artist Bernard Chang, “Green Lantern: New Guardians” artist Brad Walker along with DC’s Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras and Editorial Director Bobbie Chase.
The new approach to “Green Lantern” is underway and as October approaches there will be a unifying story titled “Lights Out.” Venditti said that all four titles with their 24th issues will cross over for a one month storyline that focuses on new villain Relic, a unique new threat for the Green Lanterns who is a sympathetic science-based villain.
Soule added that Relic is very large, much larger than other villains.
Venditti said that the upcoming Villains Month issue of “Green Lantern” in September will focus on Relic filling in his background and how he came to this universe.
Soule added they can’t talk about much since anything they say will spoil the issue.
In “Lights Out,” Venditti said the Lanterns will explore what is going on with the various lantern batteries that power the individual rings. In the current issues, the rings have been malfunctioning. Venditti added that Relic has a theory as to why the failure of the rings is happening and it will be at the heart of the crossover.
“There is a huge problem with the lights,” Soule added. Relic tries to solve it but it is going to go wrong.
Venditti said the event will have lasting repercussions for the books prompting Soule to say that they want to change what readers think they can do with the books, pointing to the fact that one-time Green Lantern Guy Gardner is now the leader of the Red Lantern Corps.
The Orange Lantern Larfleeze has been a huge part of Venditti’s first two issues. Venditti says there is a specific reason for this as he is setting up the dominoes for the “Lights Out” event. Each step has meaning coming into Villains Month and during September it will all start to click.
In “Green Lantern” #22, Hal Jordan is dealing with new things and new Green Lantern recruits. Venditti said they are more like the Bad News Bears than they are Green Lanterns. An image was shown of one of the recruits using his ring to make a fist then smacking Jordan in the back of the head with it. These new Lanterns are not prepared for the upcoming events.
Venditti spoke about the new Star Sapphire who was an inmate of the Green lantern Scien-Cells. She will be the featured villain in “Green Lantern” #23 with long term plans for her as she will be the leader of a new clan of Star Sapphires.
Some of the back story of Relic is given on four variant covers by artist Rags Morales that travel through the history of the character with black and white imagery. There are four covers one for each of the core titles.
Jensen said that in “Green Lantern Corps” #24 the impact of Relic’s attack will be felt. He said as he was writing it he stopped and thought about how unbelievable it was that he got to write the story he did. He said they are taking big chances with the story.
Venditti pointed out that many of the writers on the “Green Lantern” books are new to writing comics or writing them on this big of a stage. “Lights Out” is their big introduction to the books and there are making big moments for the sake of making big moments.
Harras said that the creators deserve strong kudos for their big ideas.
Chang said that the stories are very fast paced with lots of character play. The new recruits have a big back story for them. Chang said that many of them are based on Jensen’s family.
It is a lot of fun to explore the Bad News Bears aspect of the new recruits with real character driven use of their will power, said Jensen. He said he so lucky to be working with Chang and his veteran story telling ability since Jensen is so new to writing comics.
“New Guardians” is the Kyle Rayner Lantern comic book and artist Walker said that Kyle is the only White Lantern and he is on his own much like he was when he was first introduced as the last member of the Green Lantern Corps. Kyle is off on his own and even Hal Jordan admits he has no jurisdiction over Kyle anymore. Kyle is the most powerful Lantern and he is doing a “favor” for Hal in the “New Guardians” series.
“Lights Out” will add a new level to what it means to be a White Lantern as Kyle has a task that no one else can do. He has control over the whole color spectrum using all of the Lantern abilities.
Relic makes his debut in the pages of “New Guardians” #21 and 22 as the scientist enters the world/universe he does not know. He immediately does what a scientist should and starts testing the universe.
Venditti said that Relic’s ships and his constructs that he creates are aspects of his character. His technology is very organic as it grows rather than being built.
Chang added that it is a lot of fun to design the sci-fi. He gets lost in the design work and has to remind himself to get back to finishing the pages for the issue.
The books will give you a sci-fi fix within a super hero comic book, Soule added.
Walker said that with Green Lantern you are not beholden to the real world idioms and constructs. Ships don’t have to be static. He likes working with Relic because his size is so great he dwarfs everything else on the page.
He comes from a giant world, Venditti said. He did not grow when he came to our universe. Relic’s is a large universe and the small Lanterns do not intimidate him.
“Red Lanterns” is the Guy Gardner book, Soule says. He is bitter and enraged over being assigned by Hal Jordan to go into the Red Lantern Corps undercover as the new Red Lantern leader. To do it Guy has to fire himself up with rage and goes too far and kills the previous Red Lantern leader Attrocitus.
You lose your mind to rage when you first wear the red ring. Guy will pull himself together. He decides he hates the Red Lantern home world of Ysmault and decides to take the Red Lanterns house hunting and he does this first by taking over a space pirate’s ship.
During “Lights Out” the Red Lanterns will get involved at a choke point with Guy looking to get a reward for his involvement and what he wants is something Soule finds completely unbelievable and fun to write about.
“Green Lantern Annual” #2 will be the culmination of “Lights Out.” Thirty-eight pages with lots of stuff happening and the story going to the next level.
The panel was turned over to the fans at this point to ask questions of the “Green Lantern” creators.
In answer to if there will be more “Tales of the Corps” mini-series to focus on other members of the Lantern Corps like there were in the Johns era of Green Lantern, Venditti said he and Jensen talked about fleshing out the characters within the series but there will be no stand alone series.
The very first Green Lantern, Alan Scott, is spending his time on Earth-2 and will not be a part of the ongoing “Green Lantern” titles.
A fan asked why “Blackest Night” and “Brightest Day” only jive with the “Green Lantern” books but not the rest of DC’s New 52. What happened in the events of those stories will be revealed and felt soon. Both stories still happened and are part of the DC Canon.
Black Hand will have an issue during Villains Month.
Any plans for Sinestro? The panel, ominously, could not talk about any.
Romulous a character from the early issues of the “New Guardians” is not in the cards to come back any time soon. Walker said the series will focus on Kyle for now. The artist said Kyle needs room to breathe so the team of the New Guardians is on the side lines.
There are no plans for a series focusing on the Blue Lanterns but St. Walker will have a story focusing on him after “Lights Out.”
The purpose of the Black Lanterns is to be scary and a representation of death within the universe.
Each creator was asked what draws them to the Green Lantern mythos.
Venditti – Cops in space, epic cosmic high concepts
Soule – Sci-Fi science and the physics aspects within a super hero setting
Jensen – The constructs the Lanterns imagine are a powerful analogue for a writer
Walker – Star Wars with superheroes, visually well-designed uniforms and super powers that look cool
Chang – The design and emotions of the characters
Walker said he will need to talk to Justin Jordan, writer of “New Guardians,” about creating an oath for the White Lanterns.
Venditti pointed out that each of the four core “Green Lantern” titles focuses on a different Earth Lantern so they can elevate all of their status and not just focus on Hal Jordan.
In regards to the other Corps members and them receiving more attention, Jensen said with 7,200 Lanterns it’s hard to work them all in.
Chang said with the way Jensen scripts it really brings out the individual attributes of the Lanterns giving each one the focus that fans wants.
No plans for Hal Jordan to become a Black Lantern again anytime soon.
In response to a question regarding more intimate stories set on Earth, Venditti said as part of the pitch to get the job on the book he planned to take the book to the next level. The stories are just getting bigger as Hal needs to deal with a reduced Green Lantern Corps and Lantern mistrust throughout the universe. Not to say there won’t be time to return to Earth but right now the stories are epic in scale.